Converting A Garage
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Converting A Garage

What do we do with the floor?

Depending on where you live you must think about adding warmth to the floor. It is most likely a cement or concrete floor. It also depends on the new use of the space. An office floor where you will be sitting or a family room where kids often play on the floor has a different need than a gym or workshop.

So we need to focus..

If the garage floor is uninsulated we need to focus on making it warmer and more resilient(softer). We can fur up the floor with 2x's and plywood. This would allow is to insulate and level the floor while making it warmer. I would make sure to put down felt paper first to act as a vapor barrier. Most garage floors are pitched around a 1/4" per foot so this will give us a chance to level the floor in the process. How can you tell, just put down a round object and see if it rolls towards the door. Some floors settle over the years so a carpenters level will give you a better reading.

Now the floor height needs to be established.

Measure and determine how much you want to raise the floor. If you have an attached house and plan on opening up between these spaces make sure not to have a step over 7" high in most cases. Please check with your local codes to ensure you are okay for safety and insurance. The new 2x's you are using to level the floor can be ripped down or shimmed up to get your floor at the desired height.

Floors check, walls?

Yes, now that you have your new floor established it is time to pay attention to your walls. Garage walls often sit on concrete footings or knee walls. This means they may over hang the foundation or set back on top of them. When you frame the new floor some of these issues may go away. The outside walls will need to be prepared for insulation. Sometimes they need to be furred out even for the gypsum wall board or other finish sheet goods. The insulation value varies for the most part a resistance value of R-21 will be needed to comply with the building code. Once again check with your local building department if needed.

Obstructions may be present.

Things like heating/cooling ducts, wiring and pipes may be in the way. Try to fur out proud of them. If they are too large you may have to box out around them. Remember if there is a need to get at something like a clean-out or a heater etc., access panels will help solve this issue.

The ceiling is higher!

In most cases the ceiling height will be taller to accommodate the original garage doors. This can be a drop ceiling or a higher rigid ceiling. When you decide on the use for the space and then your decorating budget it will help you to figure out what you plan of action is. Once you have it warmed up and ready for the finishes you still have lots more to think about.

by David H. De Jordy


Street Talk

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